We’re at the Grenoble ‘Six’ – only it’s no longer a ‘Six;’ in line with Zürich, they’ve cut it back to be the Grenoble Four Day.

I haven’t taken any pictures of the Paris Folies girls yet – I got into an awful bother last year with those topless shots – and decided to wait and see what the outfits were like before I reached for the Nikon.

The first routine was a ‘no, no’ – there was silicone jutting everywhere!

They’re fully clothed for their second number – you could see the disappointment in the riders’ faces as they looked at the big screen.

This race has a great tradition, stretching back to 1971 when Six Day legend Peter Post of The Netherlands partnered dashing ‘playboy’ Frenchman Alain Van Lancker to victory.

Merckx, Sercu, Pijnen, Thurau, Clark and Doyle have all won here in the Palais Des Sports.

But the thing about the Six Days is that first and foremost, they have to make money – and the organisers have to make decisions to safeguard their margins.

As Franco Marvulli once said to me; ‘better four days than no days!

Johnny’s poster on the side of the Velodrome.

Johnny Hallyday, aka ‘the French Elvis’ was beaming down at us from the posters as we arrived to pick up our accreditation – he’s here in December (Johnny, not Elvis, that is).

Leonard’s poster.

The hall is a big venue for gigs – Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen have played here.

The stadium architecture is impressive.

Of all the stadiums on the circuit, this one is the most spectacular – the concrete ‘wings’ curve up into the sky, with the local football club’s all glass stadium next door and the limestone crags towering over everything.

Mechanic Dirk’s workstation is ready.
Kenny de Ketele’s lovely new bike.
Iljo’s superleggero Specialized.

Inside, Dirk was getting ready to cosset the expensive hardware, including Kenny De Ketele’s new stead and Iljo Keisse’s gorgeous Specialized – the lightest track bike I’ve ever come across.

The indoor season started in Amsterdam, where Saxo-Tinkoff road star, Michael Mørkøv paired with former Netherlands elite road champion, Pim Ligthart to win.

The word is that Mørkøv was riding the string off his wheel, he was so strong.

Second in Amsterdam was the QuickStep pairing of Iljo Keisse and Niki Terpstra, the reigning Netherlands elite road race champion.

Keisse is here, paired with World Madison Champion, Kenny De Ketele.

World Madison Champion Kenny De Ketele warms up.

Kenny was fourth in Amsterdam, paired with world champion partner, Gils Van Hoecke.

Completing the podium in Amsterdam was the strong home pairing of Stroetinga/Schep.

As well as the strong Keisse/De Ketele pairing, we have ‘home boys’ Morgan Kneisky and Bryan Coquard.

It’s a little while since there’s been a solid French Six Day team; but this pairing is quality.

Kneisky rides for the Roubaix Lille Metropole squad and won the Worlds Scratch Race title in 2009, was second in the Worlds Madison with Riblon in 2010 and in 2011 he was second in the Worlds Scratch and Points Races as well as winning here in Grenoble with Keisse.

Best “De’il Tak the Hindmost” rider in the world, Brian Coquard.

If Coquard can maintain his momentum then he’s bound for the very top – he was World Junior Omnium Champion in 2009 and 2010; in 2011 he was second to Britain’s Ed Clancy in the European Omnium Championship, but this year he’s been outstanding.

He was second in the European Omnium Championship, second in the Olympic Omnium and on the road won the prestigious GP Cristal Energie in France before finishing second in the World U23 Road Race Championship in Limburg.

Riders who’ve ridden against him in the Omnium will tell you that he’s all but unbeatable in the Devil (or Elimination as the Continentals call it) – a discipline where it’s easy add ‘a whole shed load’ of unwelcome points if you get caught out early.

The third team which should be contending for the podium is the pairing of current Six Day king, Franco Marvulli and rapid countryman, Tristan Marquet.

Marguet is reining Swiss Points Race Champion and won the summer Six Days of Fiorenzuola with Marvulli.

However, Marvulli came down in a bad crash in a derny paced track race in France in August sustaining severe injuries to his arm when he was run over by three riders and a Derny which were behind him.

He had to quit the Amsterdam Six so it’s unclear how he’ll go here.

The caterer is getting ready.
Greg Baugé is here.

But the caterers are ready to go; there are new tricots (jerseys) for the coureurs – the old ones were getting a bit tired – and Gregory Baugé is good to go in the sprints.

Jason Kenny tightens up.

Baugé and the man who denied him that Olympic Individual Sprint gold which he so covets, Jason Kenny are first up in the keirin.

It’s a tame affair, they’re even chatting among themselves when they pass us.

The pros get a 42 lap Points Race to loosen their legs, more sprinting – then its trapeze time.

If you’ve followed my jaunts to Grenoble over the years, then you’ll know that it’s not just about the bikes (didn’t someone write a book called that?)

The tables in the track centre. You could have a seat too – only €65 per person.

The whole track centre becomes a restaurant; 100 tables each with 10 diners.

There’s a lavish buffet – and a cabaret, which could be tenors, a magic act, strongmen, jugglers . . .

But the acts aren’t ‘Portobello Toon Hall’ – they’re world class; some of the strong man acts I’ve seen here beggar belief.

Cesar Pindo squeezes himself into a box.

The first act this year was a contortionist, a normal sized guy who can pack himself into a small box – it’s a not a career I’d have much of a future in.

The trapeze artists ‘Duo Sorellas’ are impressive.

The trapeze artists are excellent, the diners sip their fine wines and the riders watch the giant screen as the artistes do their thing up in the roof space.

Chase time – there’s no ‘easing in’ to it, Iljo and Kenny flex their muscles from the off.

They take the first lap but Kneisky/Coquard are right there too; ‘we’re no push over’ they’re telling the men from the North.

Franco is hurting, you can see it, but he hangs tough – it’s only a 35 minute chase.

Folies time; and there’s a South Pacific/Hiawatha/Divine kind of a vibe – ‘Happy Talk’ meets ‘Running Bear’; with a bit of ‘Shake it Up’ – but they’re topless, so no one really cares.

Team Sprint time, with a twist – the Six Day guys wind it up, dive for the line, then peel off after their lap on the front, leaving the sprinter to do his thing for the final lap.

Jason looks serene as he prepares for the Team Sprint.
Jason’s GB Bike neat ends and adjusters.

Jason has his GB ‘super bike’ here, complete with ‘trick’ ends to stop all those watts from pulling a wheel.

Franco and Tristan go with him – despite Franco being the colour of chalk, they take the win.

Franco and Tristan wind it up with Jason tucked in and ready to unleash

Franco may be jaded, but Tristan is rapid and Kenny isn’t Olympic Champion for nothing.

Ciao Franco.
Tristan makes a few calls and SMSs to figure out what he’s going to be doing for the next three nights.

But within minutes of finishing, Franco is stretchered out of the hall and off to hospital – a viral infection, dehydration and loss of kidney function.

Tristan is concerned for his partner, but disappointed that his Grenoble may be over as he texts home.

And yet more negs – there have been four punctures tonight; staples are the culprits – Dirk works overtime with the contact adhesive.

American riders Austin Carroll and Guy East, our boys!

The 20 minute chase isn’t too savage – Austin Carroll and Guy East, our young American charges enjoy this chase more than the last one; but Iljo, Kenny, Morgan and Bryan will be at it again tomorrow in the 35 minute chase, you can be sure.

More Folies (fully clothed), the music is Lady Gaga’s ‘Poker face’ so the dancers all stand motionless and – you guessed it – ‘poker faced.’

And yes, it was as bad as it sounds.

One of the riders we’re looking after at the race, Guy East.

The last three races arrive in rapid fire – Devil for rider with black number, followed by a Scratch Race then the Team Devil.

Just like on the Titanic, the band plays ‘til the bitter end – but their hats go further back on their heads and the odd bum note creeps in.

Haul the boys in, tidy the cabins, empty the ‘you know what,’ do the washing . . .

The Trio Laruss acrobatic show is amazing.

Did I mention the ‘Statues D’Or?

No – we’ll do that tomorrow, we have to keep our pal Vik abreast of the cabaret.

Bon nuit et a demain!

 

Results - Grenoble Four Days 2012, Day One

CLM Par Equipe

1. n°1 MARVULLI – MARGUET / KENNY 35 .488
2. n°2 KNEISNY – COQUARD / D ALMEIDA 35 .658
3. n°6 EDMULLER – STAHR / CONORD 36 .634
4. n°5 HOFMANN – HESTER / SIREAU 36 .716
5. n°9 BRISSE – BOUDAT / PALMA 36 .733
6. n°4 CICCONE – MASOTTI / BOURGAIN 37 .074
7. n°8 IVARS – LAMOISSON / LAFFARGUE 37 .260
8. n°3 DEKETELE – KEISSE / BAUGE 38 .666

Série de Sprint 42t

1. n°3 KEISSE IIJ0 / DEKETELE KENNY 13pts
2. n°5 HESTER MARC / HOFFMAN NOLAN 10pts
3. n°1 MARGUET TRISTAN / MARVULLI FRANCO 8pts
4. n°2 COQUARD BRYAN / KNEISKY MORGAN 8pts
5. n°4 MASOTTI FABIO / CICCONE ANGELO 7pts
6. n°10 PIJOURLET JULES / FOUACHE KEVIN 7pts
7. n°11 CARISEY CLEMENT / RUFFINENGO BASTIEN 6pts
8. n°6 STAHR MAX / EDMULLER BENJAMIN 3pts
9. n°8 LAMOISSON MORGAN / IVARS SÉBASTIEN 2pts
10. n°7 CAROLL AUSTIN / EAST GUY 2pts
11. n°9 BOUDAT THOMAS / BRISSE VIVIEN 0pts

Chasse 35m

1. n°3 KEISSE IIJ0 / DEKETELE KENNY 47pts
2. n°2 COQUARD BRYAN / KNEISKY MORGAN 32pts
@ 1 Lap
3. n°4 MASOTTI FABIO / CICCONE ANGELO 20pts
4. n°9 BOUDAT THOMAS / BRISSE VIVIEN 18pts
5. n°5 HESTER MARC / HOFFMAN NOLAN 17pts
6. n°1 MARGUET TRISTAN / MARVULLI FRANCO 12pts
@ 2 Laps
7. n°10 PIJOURLET JULES / FOUACHE KEVIN 11pts
8. n°6 STAHR MAX / EDMULLER BENJAMIN 3pts
9. n°8 LAMOISSON MORGAN / IVARS SÉBASTIEN 2pts
@ 3 Laps
10. n°11 CARISEY CLEMENT / RUFFINENGO BASTIEN 6pts
@ 4 Laps
11. n°7 CAROLL AUSTIN / EAST GUY 2pts

Elimination Rouge

1. n°2R COQUARD Bryan 10pts
2. n°9R BOUDAT Thomas 6pts
3. n°4R MASOTTI Fabio 5pts
4. n°3R KEISSE Iijo 4pts
5. n°1R MARGUET Tristan 3pts
6. n°10R PIJOURLET Jules 2pts
7. n°5R HESTER Marc 0pts
8. n°11R CARISEY Clement 0pts
9. n°6R STAHR Max 0pts
10. n°7R CAROLL Austin 0pts
11. n°8R LAMOISSON Morgan 0pts

Chasse 20'

1. n°5 HESTER MARC / HOFFMAN NOLAN 20pts
@ 1 Lap
2. n°2 COQUARD BRYAN / KNEISKY MORGAN 12pts
3. n°3 KEISSE IIJ0 / DEKETELE KENNY 10pts
4. n°9 BOUDAT THOMAS / BRISSE VIVIEN 8pts
5. n°4 MASOTTI FABIO / CICCONE ANGELO 6pts
6. n°10 PIJOURLET JULES / FOUACHE KEVIN 4pts
@ 2 Laps
7. n°8 LAMOISSON MORGAN / IVARS SÉBASTIEN 0pts
8. n°6 STAHR MAX / EDMULLER BENJAMIN 0pts
9. n°11 CARISEY CLEMENT / RUFFINENGO BASTIEN 0pts
10. n°7 CAROLL AUSTIN / EAST GUY 0pts
@ 3 Laps
11. n°1 MARGUET TRISTAN / MARVULLI FRANCO 0pts

Elimination Dossard Noir

1. n°3N DEKETELE Kenny 10pts
2. n°4N CICCONE Angelo 6pts
3. n°6N EDMULLER Benjamin 5pts
4. n°10N FOUACHE Kevin 4pts
5. n°2N KNEISKY Morgan 3pts
6. n°7N EAST Guy 2pts
7. n°11N RUFFINENGO Bastien 0pts
8. n°8N IVARS Sebastien 0pts
9. n°9N BRISSE Vivien 0pts
10. n°5N HOFFMAN Nolan 0pts
DNS n°1N MARVULLI Franco 0pts

Scratch 1 coureur / équipe

1. n°8 LAMOISSON MORGAN / IVARS SÉBASTIEN 10pts
2. n°6 STAHR MAX / EDMULLER BENJAMIN 6pts
3. n°1 MARGUET TRISTAN / MARVULLI FRANCO 5pts
4. n°2 COQUARD BRYAN / KNEISKY MORGAN 4pts
5. n°4 MASOTTI FABIO / CICCONE ANGELO 3pts
6. n°11 CARISEY CLEMENT / RUFFINENGO BASTIEN 2pts
7. n°10 PIJOURLET JULES / FOUACHE KEVIN 0pts
8. n°9 BOUDAT THOMAS / BRISSE VIVIEN 0pts
9. n°7 CAROLL AUSTIN / EAST GUY 0pts
10. n°5 HESTER MARC / HOFFMAN NOLAN 0pts
11. n°3 KEISSE IIJ0 / DEKETELE KENNY 0pts

Elimination par équipe

1. n°4 MASOTTI FABIO / CICCONE ANGELO 20pts
2. n°3 KEISSE IIJ0 / DEKETELE KENNY 12pts
3. n°2 COQUARD BRYAN / KNEISKY MORGAN 10pts
4. n°5 HESTER MARC / HOFFMAN NOLAN 8pts
5. n°7 CAROLL AUSTIN / EAST GUY 6pts
6. n°8 LAMOISSON MORGAN / IVARS SÉBASTIEN 4pts
7. n°10 PIJOURLET JULES / FOUACHE KEVIN 0pts
8. n°11 CARISEY CLEMENT / RUFFINENGO BASTIEN 0pts
9. n°6 STAHR MAX / EDMULLER BENJAMIN 0pts
10. n°9 BOUDAT THOMAS / BRISSE VIVIEN 0pts
DNS n°1 MARGUET TRISTAN / MARVULLI FRANCO 0pts

Keirin GP Conseil général de l'Isère

1. n°3 D’ALMEIDA Michael 1pts
2. n°5 BOURGAIN Mickael 2pts
3. n°1 KENNY Jason 3pts
4. n°2 BAUGE Grégory 4pts
5. n°4 SIREAU Kevin 5pts
6. n°6 CONORD Charlie 6pts
7. n°7 LAFARGUE Quentin 7pts
8. n°8 PALMA Julien 8pts

Master du Sprint

1. n°2 BAUGE Grégory 10pts
2. n°1 KENNY Jason 8pts
3. n°4 SIREAU Kevin 6pts
4. n°3 D’ALMEIDA Michael 5pts
5. n°7 LAFARGUE Quentin 4pts
6. n°6 CONORD Charlie 3pts
7. n°5 BOURGAIN Mickael 2pts
8. n°8 PALMA Julien 1pts

Golden Sprint la métro

1. n°1 KENNY Jason 10pts
2. n°3 D’ALMEIDA Michael 8pts
3. n°5 BOURGAIN Mickael 6pts
4. n°4 SIREAU Kevin 5pts
5. n°2 BAUGE Grégory 4pts
6. n°8 PALMA Julien 3pts
7. n°7 LAFARGUE Quentin 2pts
8. n°6 CONORD Charlie 1pts

Standing after Day One

1. n°3 KEISSE IIJ0 / DEKETELE KENNY 83pts
2. n°2 COQUARD BRYAN / KNEISKY MORGAN 71pts
3. n°5 HESTER MARC / HOFFMAN NOLAN 45pts
@ 1 Lap
4. n°4 MASOTTI FABIO / CICCONE ANGELO 60pts
5. n°9 BOUDAT THOMAS / BRISSE VIVIEN 32pts
@ 2 Laps
6. n°10 PIJOURLET JULES / FOUACHE KEVIN 21pts
@ 3 Laps
7. n°1 MARGUET TRISTAN / MARVULLI FRANCO 20pts
8. n°8 LAMOISSON MORGAN / IVARS SÉBASTIEN 16pts
9. n°6 STAHR MAX / EDMULLER BENJAMIN 14pts
@ 4 Laps
10. n°11 CARISEY CLEMENT / RUFFINENGO BASTIEN 8pts
@ 5 Laps
11. n°7 CAROLL AUSTIN / EAST GUY 10pts